Senate passes Khatam-e-Nabuwat bill; fails to pass delimitation law due to low strength

Nausheen Yusuf
Senate of Pakistan. Photo: File 

ISLAMABAD: The Senate passed on Friday the Elections Amendment Bill, 2017, related to Khatam-e-Nabuwat clauses for voters, after the National Assembly (NA) did the same on Thursday.

The bill will now be signed into law by the President of Pakistan. 

The Senate was also expected to take up today the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2017. However, the house failed to ensure the number of lawmakers to vote on the bill. The house of 104 needed a two-thirds majority to pass the bill whereas less than 50 lawmakers were present in the house on Friday.  

The bill pertains to the fresh delimitation of constituencies in line with the provisional results of the latest census in light of the general elections next year. 

Law Minister Zahid Hamid presented the Elections Amendment bill in the Senate. 

Speaking on the floor, he said, "we are all Muslims and believe in the finality of the Prophet (PBUH)". 

Speaking during today's session, Senate Deputy Chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, who hails from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F, said the Ahmadis' status is the same as it was in the 1973 Constitution. 

The newly-passed bill restores the Khatam-e-Nabuwat declaration for voters to its original form and makes sections related to Ahmadis more effective. The sections are 7B, 7C of the Conduct of General Elections Order 2002.

NA passes laws 

In the NA on Thursday, the constitutional amendment bill on delimitation was passed with 242 parliamentary members voting in its favour and one against in a house of 342 members. The government needed 228 votes to pass the bill.

Moreover, the lower house also passed the amendment related to the restoration of the Khatam-e-Nabuwat [finality of Prophethood] clause to its original form in the Conduct of General Elections Order 2002.

Both the bills were presented before the assembly by Law Minister Zahid Hamid.  

According to the new delimitation, Punjab's seat share in the National Assembly will decrease by nine seats, while Islamabad will get one more seat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa five and Balochistan three more.

NA seats for FATA and Sindh will remain unchanged.

Earlier, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had said after chairing a meeting of parliamentary parties that the total NA seats will remain 272 but there would be a change in the allocation of NA seats for the provinces.

On November 13, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved delimitation of new constituencies on the basis of provisional results of Population Census 2017, paving a way for timely conduct of next general elections.

Briefing the media after the CCI meeting, the prime minister's special aide, Musaddiq Malik, said the political leadership resolved a major constitutional crisis through wisdom. "The election commission will immediately start working on the delimitation of new constituencies following a constitutional amendment," he said.